Tokyo Neighborhood : Nerima
Nerima station, which literally translates to “training horse” in Japanese, is quite simply the perfect neighbourhood. Located just 12 minutes away from Ikebukuro station on the Seibu Ikebukuro line, it is both far away from the hustle and bustle of the city yet close enough that getting to central Tokyo doesn’t become an exercise in logistics and timetable planning. With direct access to 2 lines (both the Seibu Ikebukuro line and the Oedo subway line) and being only 2 stations away from the Yurakucho and the Fukutoshin lines, it is also incredibly easy to get to most anywhere in central Tokyo without too many train changes.
The station itself is surrounded by everything a normal Tokyoite needs: 2 different supermarkets within a hop and a skip from the station, every major Japanese bank on the main street (there is also a 7-Eleven with their “Seven Ginko” if you need to withdraw money from a foreign bank), clothes shops are aplenty in the vicinity, and diversified restaurants that will cater to most any palate can be found scattered in the streets surrounding the station.
The parks that are located at irregular intervals bring a welcome warmth and a nice relaxing atmosphere to the region, and there is an amusement park, complete with water slides and pools in the summer, only a station away.
As imposing as it might seem at first, everything quiets down at night so that you sometimes forget you’re conveniently so close to Tokyo’s major attractions. The small and narrow streets further away from the station itself are both quaint and inviting, but somehow manage not to feel stuffy.
With so few apartment buildings around, living in Nerima gives you the unmistakable sensation you are part of a community; people you come across the street sometimes nod or the schoolchildren, with their typical Japanese backpacks, laughing and running after one another in the streets on the way back home from school, try and practice what they learned in English class with you.
Living in Tokyo for just under seven years now, I have yet to come across another area that is as complete as Nerima is. You won’t find any big department stores or entertainment districts, although there is an area populated by izakayas, yakitori places and snack bars. If you feel inclined to go, the nightclubs are only a 20-minute train ride away, whether you want to go to Ikebukuro, Shinjuku, Shibuya or Roppongi. For everything that Nerima is and for all the many ways in which it makes your life easier, finding a place here is certainly a bargain in every sense of the word.